LAHORE: Children who live in homes where there is domestic violence, grow up in an environment that is unpredictable, filled with tension and anxiety and dominated by fear. This can lead to significant emotional and psychological trauma, similar to children that experienced the trauma of child abuse. Instead of growing up in an emotionally and physically safe, secure, nurturing and predictable environment, these children are forced to worry about the future; they try to predict when it may happen next and try to protect themselves and their siblings. Often getting through each day is a major obstacle so there is little time left for fun, relaxation or planning for the future. Apart from the physical, emotional, social and behavioural damage abuse creates for children, statistics show that domestic violence can also become a learned behaviour. This means that children may grow up to think it is okay to use violence to get what they want and as adults, it is okay for violence to be in their relationships. Often the behavioural and social impacts of domestic and family violence will improve when children are safe, the violence is no longer occurring and they receive support and specialist counseling. The more we choose not to talk about domestic violence the more we shy away from the issue and the more we lose. Most people do not believe that domestic violence kills and is detrimental to the health of children. If children see or hear things during the act of domestic violence, to me that is criminal activity on the part of the parents. Such batterers should not have rights to children! Domestic violence is so easy for people in our part of the world to ignore as it happens mostly without witnesses. Yet, by speaking publicly about domestic violence, together we can challenge attitudes towards violence in houses and show that domestic violence is indeed a crime and simply not acceptable. The effects of it on our children are huge.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2019.